My research focuses on understanding cell biology and evolution using the analytical tools of mathematical optimization. I study the analytical properties of optimal cellular states and explore their potential role as fundamental quantitative principles of cell biology. Our results so far indicate that bacteria indeed implement a near optimal balance of enzyme and substrate concentrations (paper), and a near optimal allocation of ribosomal protein at different growth rates is found in both that bacteria and yeast (paper). We also have recently derived the exact mathematical conditions determining the set of active reactions required for optimal cellular growth in a given growth media (paper).
I developed and currently teach the course “Growth Mechanics” for Master students, introducing our main findings about optimization theory applied to cell biology. The course presents cellular growth as an optimal resource allocation problem solved by analytical methods, including Lagrange multipliers and Karush-Kuhn-Tucker (KKT) conditions.
- Dourado, H., Liebermeister, W., Ebenhöh, O. & Lercher, M. J. Growth Mechanics: General principles of optimal cellular resource allocation in balanced growth. Biorxiv (2022) 2022.10.27.514082 Preprint at https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.10.27.514082
- Dourado H, Mori M, Hwa T, Lercher MJ On the optimality of the enzyme–substrate relationship in bacteria. PLoS Biol 19(10): e3001416. (2021) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001416
Dourado, H., Lercher, M.J. An analytical theory of balanced cellular growth. Nat Commun 11, 1226 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14751-w